Three companies have collaborated on the development of a service combining software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology and network function virtualisation (NFV): CloudWAN. It is designed to enable enterprise customers to deliver ‘advanced’ services and security at the edge of their network (we understand that this refers to any remote location, but we’ve asked for clarity).
Two parts of the NTT Group – NTT Innovation Institute Inc. (NTT i3) and NTT PC Communications (NTTPC) – worked on CloudWAN, as well as pan-African telco Internet Solutions (IS).
NTT says that the new product can be used “to maintain and deliver high quality services, consistent policies and robust security.” SD-WAN and NFV are combined to create a tool that (supposedly) drives growth; minimises network costs; reduces complexity; and increases control.
Paradigm shifts are required to capitalise on today’s market trends. According to NTT and IS, these require a “radically different” approach to networking, which CloudWAN delivers in three steps:
1. Decouple physical assets and develop a virtualised service plane
CloudWAN acts as a platform to link public and private clouds with on-premise infrastructure, creating a single virtual network (a ‘virtualised service plane’). Businesses can then extend network services across their areas of operation
2. Migrate ecosystem to virtualised service plane
Third-party virtualised network functions, such as firewall and WAN acceleration, can be deployed onto the virtual network. Physical presence is not required to manage the rollout.
Effectively, the network functions as a service on a single device, so only one device is needed at a location instead of an extensive array of network hardware. Rather than shipping multiple devices and servers to a new location, businesses can instead send a single CloudWAN device. NTT refers to this as a ‘Site-in-a-Box’.
3. Focus beyond connectivity services
With the above steps, important applications and services can be delivered to remote user communities.
By following these steps, NTT and IS say that enterprise customers can proactively plan for their network needs, while also managing their existing infrastructure investments.
In a similar fashion, cloud operators running a range of applications from multiple vendors can consolidate their application silos into a single universal data infrastructure.
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